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Why the New Wine in Grocery Law Leaves Gas Stations and Convenience Stores High and Dry in Tennessee?
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Why the New Wine in Grocery Law Leaves Gas Stations and Convenience Stores High and Dry in Tennessee?

07.15.14
Most folks knew that pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS were left out in the cold under Tennessee's Wine in Grocery Store law, which we affectionately call WIGS.  The 20% food requirement dashed the hopes for wine in Walgreens.

Problem is, the 20% food requirement may also prevent almost all convenience stores from selling wine.

Somehow, the undecipherable lyrics to Mac Arthur Park come to mind:

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh, nooo!
 

Convenience stores benefit from the exclusion of gas sales.  Gas has a separate tax that does not count as taxable sales under the WIGS law.

But the definition of food sales leaves convenience stores high and dry for wine.  Food is defined as items that are taxed at the lower food tax rate, like flour, sugar, bread and other grocery items used to prepare food.  Ready to eat food items - think hot dogs, chips and other snack foods, and Coke and Red Bull, are excluded from the definition of food for purposes of the 20% food requirement.

We expect many businesses, including convenience stores, to ask the Tennessee Legislature to tweak WIGS to treat everyone fairly.  WIGS was an ugly truce reached at the height of a bloody battle.  When the dust settles, we see WIGS being tweaked to take care of many folks that were excluded from WIGS.

Stay tuned.

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